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Hill snatches it from Brookes in final seconds

Friday, July 06 2012

Defending champion Tommy Hill saved his best until the final minute of the opening free practice session at Oulton Park this afternoon as he fired the Swan Yamaha ahead of title rival Josh Brookes on his last lap in wet conditions in Cheshire.

Brookes had been the first rider to head onto track in the delayed first session and the Australian set the initial pace on the Tyco Suzuki before team-mate Alastair Seeley moved to the top of the timesheets. Alex Lowes onboard the WFR Honda then toppled the Tyco Suzukis with Michael Laverty also moving up inside the top five at the halfway point of the 45-minute session.

Patric Muff was the first rider to crash out unhurt in the session as team-mate Tommy Bridewell continued to build throughout the session to finish ahead of Noriyuki Haga in ninth. Moto Rapido Ducati's Scott Smart then proved he would be strong in the conditions by topping the times with ten minutes remaining on the Panigale, he ended the session fourth fastest.

Shane 'Shakey' Byrne was fifth fastest on the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki, pushing Lowes to sixth. The WFR Honda rider maintained his position ahead of Laverty and Gary Mason on the Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki. Jon Kirkham's bad luck continued as he crashed the Samsung Honda at Knickerbrook to end his session early as Seeley also ended his session with a crash at Druids whilst on a personal best lap.

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park, free practice one:

  1. Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) 1m:49.347s
  2. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +0.213s
  3. Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +0.587s
  4. Scott Smart (Moto Rapido Ducati) +0.827s
  5. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +1.098s
  6. Alex Lowes (WFR Honda) +1.321s
  7. Michael Laverty (Samsung Honda) +1.460s
  8. Gary Mason (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) +1.773s
  9. Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +2.045s
  10. Noriyuki Haga (Swan Yamaha) +2.498s